The Carson papers comprise c. 3,000 documents, 1861-1947, mainly deriving from Irish Unionist, Sir Edward Carson (1854-1935), Lord Carson of Duncairn. A learned and reputable politician and barrister rising to First Lord of the Admiralty in 1917 and Lord of Appeal from 1921-29, Edward Carson led the Ulster Unionist opposition to the 3rd Home Rule Bill from 1910. The Carson papers are, however, an incomplete archive consisting of material not destroyed in his London house during the Blitz. No records have survived of his distinguished legal career and large gaps exist in what does remain.
Of the extant material to be found within the collection, it contains: letters and papers relating to Carson's political career, his involvement with the Ulster Unionists, variations on and alternatives to Home Rule; First World War papers about the Ulster Division and conscription; Carson's papers as a Cabinet Minister, 1915-17; his Admiralty papers, 1916-17; a wide range of miscellaneous letters and papers after 1921 when he gave up the leadership of the Ulster Unionist Party. Other papers contain personal diaries of Carson's second wife Ruby, 1915-29; personal and financial papers, 1891-1947.
The collection is important for researchers into Home Rule and the reasons and support for the exclusion of Ulster
c. 3,000 documents 1861-1947 occupying 14 PRONI boxes
See PRONI reference D/1507 for catalogue of the papers. The catalogue is available for consultation in PRONI's Public Search Room.
See also http://www.proni.gov.uk/records/private/carson.htm for an introduction to the collection.
The main bulk of the archive was purchased in 1962 but some Londonderry/Carson Home Rule Papers were acquired as an indefinite loan in 1972. PRONI continues to watch out for other material and make efforts to acquire it.